Friday September 15th


Futures point to a mixed open as data and geopolitics dominate talk on Wall Street

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a mixed open on Friday, as investors turn their attention to the latest slew of economic releases, while digesting the latest news surrounding North Korea. Dow Jones industrial average futures fell 9 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures slipped 2.75 points and 7.5 points, respectively. On the data front, retail sales fell 0.2 percent in August. Economists polled by Reuters expected a gain of 0.1 percent. The Empire State manufacturing index hit 24.4, a higher-than-expected print. Industrial production figures are set for release at 9:15 a.m. ET. Business inventories and consumer sentiment will then come out at 10 a.m. ET. In the latest surrounding geopolitics, North Korea fired a missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean on Friday. Japan's Prime minister Shinzo Abe has called on the United Nations to act. Looking closer to home, Friday will mark Quadruple Witching Day, as well as Quadruple Witching Hour, where during the final hour of stock market trading, stock index futures, stock index options, stock options, and single-stock futures expire. In commodities, oil prices fluctuated on Friday, however, were on track for weekly gains, as the clean-up after hurricanes in the U.S. got underway. At 7:52 a.m. ET, U.S. crude was trading around $50 per barrel, while Brent was at $55.66. Overseas, European stocks were trading under pressure, while markets in Asia closed on a mixed note. Japan's Nikkei 225 shrugged off elevated geopolitical tensions in the region to close up 0.52 percent, or 102.06 points, at 19,909.50. In equities, South Korea's benchmark Kospi index, finished the session higher despite coming under pressure earlier in the day. The index reversed losses to climb 0.35 percent higher at 2,386.07. Greater China markets were mixed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was off 0.01 percent by 3:00 p.m. HK/SIN while mainland markets made moderate losses. The Shanghai Composite lost 0.53 percent to end at 3,353.6686 and the Shenzhen Composite finished 0.278 percent lower at 1,987.9850. Spot gold slipped on Friday, shrugging off North Korea's latest missile launch over Japan, with strong U.S. inflation data raising the specter of another interest rate hike. Spot gold was down 0.33 percent at $1,325.09 an ounce. It was down over 1 percent for the week, on track for its first weekly decline in four. U.S. gold futures for December delivery gained was flat at $1,329.40.